Precision exercises are some of my favorite things to paint. They are a great warm up exercise, they really help you hone in on brush control, and with variation in color and a little creativity you can create some pretty incredible paintings!
This little blog post goes through my three favorite precision exercises. Get your paints out and get excited!
To start off I like creating a grid so I can keep my lines neat and guided. For this line precision exercises I wanted to mix things up and put the lines in a grid. I like to put a quarter inch border around the edges and then broke the remaining space into thirds.
To start off I suggest you take a smaller brush, I used a size 4, and paint a line. Sounds simple enough, but painting straight lines can be kind of difficult when we are painting them so close together. A little trick I learned is to try to keep your fingers level, that way you brush always has the same pressure and therefore makes the same thickness of line. If you also move your elbow instead of your hand, it is easier to make your lines straight. Try to make the lines have the same amount of white spacing in between. This is by far the most challenging part.
To make the painting a little more interesting I like to use the same kind of color, but vary the tones. An easy way to do this is to create a space in your palette for mixing all kinds of blue tones. I like to add different blue paints and maybe a bit of green around the palette. Then you can create different mixtures of different tones of paints. Varying tones help create a more interesting painting.
Once you’re done with the first square, continue to fill in the rest, being sure to create the lines in opposite directions to complete the pattern!
Alrighty, ready for the second exercise. This one is similar to the first, but it is a little more challenging because instead of straight lines, we deal with a curvy ones. I like to start out with the same quarter inch border again, but no need to break this one into sections. Start off with just one curvy line through the page. I think it makes the piece a little more interesting to start and end at different heights.
Continue to follow your original line around. Try to focus on keeping the same distance between your lines. It becomes more challenging because the lines are curved. I suggest rotating your paper around to make sure you have the best angle.
While painting the lines, be sure to also vary the tones of the colors that you decide to use! I used a mixture of pinks, oranges, and mauve for this painting. The more variance in color, the more interesting your painting will look!
Last, but not least, we have our triangles. You can easily expand this exercise to include whatever shapes you want, or even just flowing blob shapes. It is whatever your heart desires!
I chose more of a red color palette with hints of yellow for this painting, I suggest starting in an upper corner and making your way around the paper. You can either make your triangles or shapes all the same size or you can vary them. It is up to you! Both can be interesting.
Continue to create your shapes, filling the page, and focusing on the white space between the shapes. You will want to keep it as uniform as possible, which can be challenging if you are trying to fit together different sizes of shapes. Try your best!
When creating your shapes also try to think about how future shapes will fit in. You can kind of see towards the bottom I've backed myself into a bit of a corner with a small white space. I eventually fill it with an itty bitty triangle, but I should have really considered what I was doing when I was painting the surrounding shapes.
These are just the start. Once you do a few of these kinds of paintings you mind starts to wander and you can come up with so many more ideas. Herringbone stripes? Filling in a geometric pattern with these kinds of lines? Doing circles instead of triangles? The ideas are endless!
If you have any suggestions or thoughts to share. Please comment below!
Want to start watercolor, but a little lost on where to start? Check out this blog post!
Curious in some more supplies that you could use to deepen your watercolor practice? Read further for some of my more advanced supplies!
Skillshare is the new Netflix. (At least in my opinion!) Check out this blogpost for my favorite Skillshare teachers. Learn how to watercolor gorgeous textures, new watercolor techniques and drills, tap into your creativity, and sooo much more. There is also a link in the post for two months free!